FLORIDA FOCUS: Blogs, Equality, Alternative Energy, Groups and Events
Florida's beaches are beautiful, the fish are biting and the only oil on our beaches is suntan oil. Now is a great time to enjoy our beautiful state.
But you wouldn't know it from the news reports and headlines that focus only on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Don't get me wrong, that subject bears coverage. But the coverage so far has not told the whole story, and that has hurt our state's tourism industry. Even worse, no Panhandle beaches will appear on this year's list of Top 10 Beaches in the U.S. The cited reason: the threat from the oil spill. The Panhandle has won the No. 1 spot on the list more than any other geographic area, and remains untouched by the oil spill. Let me say that again, there is NO oil on our beaches!
In the past month, I have met with small business owners from the Panhandle to the Keys who tell me they are already feeling the economic impact from this disaster. On one of my last visits to the Panhandle, I spoke to a boat captain who told me about a call he got from a national reporter who asked to interview him about the fish he was supposedly pulling from the oily water. The reporter wanted to know what the fish looked like. The captain said he was not pulling fish from the oil because there was no oil. The reporter put the captain on hold purportedly to take another call, then came back on the line to say he would have to call him back. The boat captain never got a call back.
I have been calling for immediate help for our coastal communities and small businesses and demanding answers from BP. I also urged Governor Crist to use his authority as Governor to request state and federal emergency small business loans and activate economic disaster relief. The Governor has done this, and the Small Business Administration is making low-interest loans to small businesses in need. I opened a consumer helpline and have outlined tips to help businesses in case they might need to access the BP claims process. The most important tip is to be sure to keep detailed records of any losses.
I also asked BP to fund a global advertising campaign and $25 million arrived on Tuesday to get the word out that Florida's beaches and waters are free of oil. The amount provided thus far is a good step, but it is nowhere near what is needed to protect Florida's $60 billion tourism industry.
So, it's up to us to get the word out. Tell your friends and family that our beaches are open for business and now is the time to visit. Don't miss out on our miles of unspoiled sand for relaxing walks on the beach, the wide-open Gulf and the most beautiful sunsets you'll see anywhere.
Take that beach vacation you have been planning - bring your swimsuit, sunscreen, beach towel and that book you have been wanting to read. Also be sure to plan to get out on the water - the fish are biting!
News from Florida:
ABOUT TIME: The Senate Armed Services Committee Passes Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
BP Spokeswoman Chucked Out of Pensacola Council Room
Jacksonville High School Students Gather to Defeat Homophobia
May 21 BP Oil Spill Update
Terrorist attacks Mosque in FL, FBI involved
New video of oil discharge
Joe Garcia for Congress:
Howard Dean and Keith Olbermann Discuss Kendrick Meek:
The Florida Progressive Coalition: progressive politics in Florida.
LeftyBlogs Florida is the place to find out what's happening in the progressive blogosphere across Florida.
FLA Politics: Political news from Florida
PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES IN FLORIDA:
Millie Herrera for Florida's 114th District Representative:
Democracy for America has endorsed Millie Herrera for State Representative for the 114th District. Here is what they have to say about her:
Millie has dedicated her life to helping others -- working for a better Florida and working to train the next generation of progressive grassroots leaders.
Millie has felt this recession firsthand. As a small business owner, she's worked to create jobs in this tough economy. She knows the struggles Florida families face and she has the experience and vision to help put the state back on track.
Here is Herrera's statement to DFA:
I am a lifelong progressive Democrat, born in Cuba and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, went to school in Carbondale, Illinois, and lived in Caracas, Baton Rouge and Dallas, Texas before moving to Miami in 1987. In 1995, I became active in Miami politics after Newt Gingrich's "Contract ON America" showed me what happens when progressives become complacent, serving as Miami-Dade Democratic Party Deputy Director, then in 1997 organized the Miami-Dade Democratic Hispanic Caucus and was its President until 1998. In 2000, had the honor of being a delegate at the DNC National Convention, and was also elected President of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, and was reelected in 2002. My passion has been to bring Hispanics into the Democratic Party and awaken the sleeping giant with voter registration, community organizing, and GOTV. In 2000, I founded The Miami Group, a marketing and business consulting firm. This gave me the opportunity to serve my community, becoming a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for abused and neglected children, and serving on the Kendall Community Council. In 2004, I ran for State Representative in District 114. My opponent, the Republican incumbent ran a very well funded campaign and I did not prevail. My work on behalf of children in the juvenile justice system and the abused and neglected continued, as well as advocacy for growth management and halting sprawl in South Florida. In 2005-2006 I was the spokesperson for the Hold The Line campaign in the Hispanic community. In 2007-2008, I worked tiredlessly to elect a Democrat to the White House, and hosted a Spanish language radio show until April 2009 to communicate the Democratic message and point of view on the issues to the Hispanic community in South Florida. I continue to advocate for progressive issues: health care for all, highest quality public education, immigration reform, women's rights and the right to choose.
I am running because we need a sweeping change in Florida politics. Too many Florida state legislators protect the interests of big business over the best interests of their constituents. I will be a voice for working families, small business owners, children and a clean water and environment.
-Improve education by increasing funding by the state of school districts, community colleges and universities
-Economic development programs to bring new industries to Florida that create new jobs
-Growth management laws that protect the Everglades and our drinking water
If you live in Fountainebleau, Sweetwater, University Park , Westwood Lakes, Westchester, Kendall, Richmond West or South Miami Heights, please volunteer to help Millie Herrera's campaign. If you can't volunteer, please donate.
Alan Grayson for Congress (FL-8)
Alan Grayson has been one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party this year, standing up to the Republicans every time they lie or oppose programs that would actually help Americans. He is the firebrand our party needs to keep moving forward. Republicans thought he'd be an easy target, but he has surged through grassroots fundraising and isn't looking all that vulnerable right now. But the right wing is still trying to challenge him. Democracy for America has eagerly endorsed Grayson for re-election. Here's what they have to say about him:
Representative Alan Grayson is living proof that Democrats win when they stand up for what they believe in. Grayson ran for Congress in his traditionally conservative area as a progressive Democrat, going on to win 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.
Since heading to Washington, Grayson has become one of the progressive movement's best voices, taking the fight for real healthcare reform with a public option straight to the Republicans working to killing any and all reform.
If you live in the FL-8 district, you can help this progressive champion defeat the right wing yet again by volunteering for his campaign. Or you can contribute to his re-election fund. Either way, keep in mind this is a critical race for 2010.
Equality Events in Florida: The Dolphin Democrats have a calendar with many events throughout Florida. Go here to find out what is going on in your area.
Florida Democratic Party Netroots Coalition
The Netroots Coalition was created to help bring together bloggers and Netroots activists who support the Democratic Party. The mission of the organization is to contribute to the growth and influence of the Democratic Party, to establish and maintain a Democratic online community, and to promote the party and all party candidates for Democratic leadership throughout the state and nation. We also seek to assist and encourage Florida Democrats, including clubs, county, and grassroots organizations to get online and establish a communication network and promote online participation among Democrats. Go here to join.
Florida Democratic Party Small County Coalition
The SCC is made up of the counties in Florida that have less than 35,000 registered Democrats, which includes more than half of the counties in Florida. The mobilization and organization of small counties through the SCC is an important asset to Florida Democrats. As one of the finest examples of what cooperation within the Party can achieve, the SCC, Florida's largest Democratic voting block, gives Democrats from smaller counties a chance to deliver our message in underrepresented areas of Florida.
Go here to get active in the coalition.
Mark your calendars for the next Smal County Coalition Convention on June 20-22 in Nassau County. Learn more here: http://www.doug2008.net/scc2008.html
Alternative Energy in Florida:
Some statistics from Repower America:
* NextEra Energy began construction on three solar energy facilities that will prevent the release of nearly 3.5 million tons of greenhouse gases – or the equivalent of removing 25,000 cars from the road per year!
* Florida Power & Light claims to be the nation's No.1 utility for energy conservation. FPL's programs have helped the company avoid the need to build 12 medium-sized power plants since 1980.
* Governor Crist’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change adopted a fifty-policy climate plan that, when fully implemented, will provide a net cost savings of more than $28 billion and reduce GHG emissions by 64% by 2025.
Alternative energy and YOUR energy bill: YOU can be part of the solution for America by signing up to purchase your energy through a Green Power Provider. My wife and I have been doing this in NYC for years. All our energy usage is provided through wind energy generation on American farms. So we use clean energy AND help American farmers. It costs us three cents per kilowatt-hour more per month, but we feel great about it. Although our actual energy may come from anywhere, we are paying to purchase wind energy for the energy grid. Each state has different programs available, usually through yuor existing energy provider right on your existing energy bill. To find such options in Florida, go here and pick your energy provider from the list. If you need help, you can email me and tell me who you get your bill from (don't give me any other info!) and I can tell you who to contact to go green through that energy provider. Or you can do the same thing using Renewable Energy Certificates through an organization that works with utility companies, though in this case it is a separate bill. One off the cheapest (.4-1 cent per kilowatt-hour), but still e-Green certified, ways to do this is through Good Energy. Or, for about half a cent per kilowatt-hour you can purchase renewable energy certificates through Carbonfund.org. ANY of these ways you do it, you are helping the environment, helping America, and helping cut carbon emissions.
Here is a biodiesel cooperative in Florida. If you drive a diesel truck or car, check them out.
Brevard Biodiesel seeks to promote the availability and use of clean-burning, renewable biodiesel fuel as a replacement for petroleum by raising public awareness of its environmental, economic, and national security benefits.
Check out their website. They have some good environmental news reports on their site.
Here are some other alternative energy groups in Florida:
SolarCity Gainesville is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of solar and renewable energy in Gainesville and Alachua County. Go here for more info.
Jacksonville's Sustainable Future:
Jacksonville's Sustainable Future is a resource for those who are concerned about Global Climate Change and want to do something, as well as a resource for those who want to learn more.
Our focus is on creating a better world for future generations.
Join us to discuss citizen awareness projects, personal endeavors, and other plans for a better future for Jacksonville, Orange Park, the Beaches, St. Augustine, Fernandina, and the other areas that make up Greater Jacksonville. Go here for more info.
We are working on a number of projects related to energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Please join us if you want to work towards a greener, cleaner, and healthier future for our community.
Here are some Florida groups and events:
Florida Public Transportation Association
The Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) is chartered to fulfill the following objectives:
1. To provide a forum for public transit service providers and affiliated organizations to exchange experiences, studies and to engage in meaningful discussion of mutual problems, concerns and issues.
2. To foster the improvement of public transportation in the state by promoting the beneficial use of research and factual study.
3. To act as a collective voice in promoting the recognition, use, expansion and enhancement of public transportation in the state.
4. To elicit cooperation efforts among member agencies, their employees, agents and customers, along with the general public to pursue and achieve common interests.
5. To represent the interests of member agencies, individually or collectively, in forums appropriate for the prosecution, enforcement or defense of issues of interest to those members.
6. To receive and apply funds for the achievement and furtherance of organizational purposes and objectives, including levying, assessing, charging and collecting dues from the membership of the Association.
7. To acquire, hold and own land, facilities, equipment and furnishings and do all things necessary and incident to carrying out the organizational purposes and objectives.
Miami-Dade Democratic Black Caucus Regularly Scheduled Meeting
Second Saturday of every month at 10 AM
Event Location: El-Portal City Hall 500 NE 87 Street, The Village of El-Portal.
We welcome new membership, please join us, free continental breakfast served! Honorable Joyce A. Davis, President 305-754-0934
Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Miami-Dade
Fourth Wednesday of every month, 7:00PM
Hoja Nueva Restaurant at the Westin Colonade
Please attend the monthly meeting for the Miami Dade Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida. For more info: 305 632-0036
Miami Dade Cuban American Democratic Club
Miami Dade Cuban American Democratic Club Breakfast Meeting
Event Location: “Versailles” restaurant located at 3555 SW 8 ST Miami, FL 33135 Fourth Saturday of each month, 9:00 a.m. (If this is the same Versailles Cuban restaurant that I know in California, the food is fantastic! Particularly the roast chicken and rost pork).
The Miami Dade Cuban American Democratic Club invites you to its next breakfast meeting at “Versailles” restaurant located at 3555 SW 8 St
Cost: $15 per person.
For more info contact: Hector Caraballo (President, Miami Dade Cuban American Democratic Club) at hector_at_miamicubandems.org
MIAMI-DADE YOUNG DEMS MONTHLY MEETING
Fourth Tuesday of every month, 7pm
1201 Biscayne Ave. Miami, FL 33131
For info: 786-425-1130
Sumter County Democratic Club
P.O. Box 1066 Wildwood, FL 34785
General Meeting at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd Thursday of every month Sumterville Community Center
Tri-County Women's Democratic Club
General Meeting at 9:30 a.m. on the 1st Monday of every month at the Sumter County Sheriff's Annex on Highway 466 @ Morse Boulevard.
Charlotte County Democrats meeting
The Charlotte County Democratic Club meets on the second Saturday of every month. Please join us at 9:30 AM for coffee and snacks. The meeting starts at 10 AM. Location is the upstairs meeting room at the Public Library on Aaron Street in Port Charlotte. Call 743-5560 for directions or more info.
And for those interested in a more fun way to be liberal, here are Florida's Drinking Liberal groups:
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
* Every Thursday, 7:00 pm onward
* Island Jack's Patio Bar and Grille, 5425 W Atlantic Blvd, Margate (just East of 441)
* Hosted by Jacqueline Hope Derby and Dave Pfeffer, ftlauderdale (at) drinkingliberally.org
* Every Wednesday, 6:00 pm onward
* Johnny's Fillin' Station, 2706 S Ferncreek Ave (NE corner of Michigan and Fern Creek)
* Hosted by Dan Hill, orlando (at) drinkingliberally.or
* Every Thursday, 7:00 pm onward
* Intermission, 214 S Palafox St
* Hosted by Terry Welch, pensacola (at) drinkingliberally.org
* Third Thursday of each month, 6:00 pm onward
* Gill's Tavern, 2545 North Monroe Street
* Hosted by Sharon Collins, tallahassee (at) drinkingliberally.org
South Tampa UPDATED
* Every Wednesday, 7:00 pm onward (used to only be first Thursday)
* Rock-N-Sports, 1600 E 8th Ave, #E200 (Above Starbucks, Across from Muvico, Next to Adobe Guilas)
* Hosted by Tim Heberlein, southtampa (at) drinkingliberally.org
* Last Thursday of each month, 8:30 pm onward
* Limey's Pub, 1492 4th St N
* Hosted by Connor Davis and Dave Lee, stpetersburg (at) drinkingliberally.org
* Every Thursday, 7:00 pm onward
* Giordano's, 11310 Causeway Blvd, Brandon FL 33511 (Outside patio) (NEW location)
* Hosted by Joe Litton and Shirley Litton, brandon (at) drinkingliberally.org
Land O Lakes
* Second Tuesday of each month, 7:00-9:00 pm
* Rapscallions, 4422 Land O Lakes Blvd (US-41)
* Hosted by Brian Reach and Michael Greenman, landolakes (at) drinkingliberally.org